on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 19 Jul

„Medium Cool“

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off

Absorbing, thought provoking and, above all, a unique record of an important place & time, „Medium Cool“ will finally be released in a bluray/dvd-double format. On August 24th. For some who don’t know this movie, it might become a kind of revelation in the way the days of counter-culture are set into scene.

First off, it’s a pretty good, if somewhat disjointed story … two „world-wise“ middle class news reporters are sent to film the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and become unwittingly involved in its political demonstrations, the inner city problems that have precipitated them, and the lives of a single mother and her young son in this harsh, confusing and seriously under-privileged world.

Its acting, in particular from Robert Forster as the lead reporter and the 13 year old Harold Blankenship as the son, is excellent and at times so effective that it’s difficult to remember you’re watching a rigidly sequenced film rather than a social documentary. And, it’s overlaid with some quite stunning cinema-photography from director Haskell Wexler, one of America’s very best exponents of the art at the time, backed up by a perfectly pitched late 60’s soundtrack. Psychedelia is part of it, revealing another subtext of the era.

Good enough so far, but that’s just the start. Add-in its extensive live footage from the streets of Chicago as the riots develop, taken by the film’s camera crew as they themselves are caught-up in a very „real“ political drama, its ominous sequencing of the build up of events from a fun „day in the park“ for the hippies/yippies to serious „police state“ level violence, its equally chilling images of what was going on inside the Convention Hall while all of this was taking place, and the clever and disturbing scenes of the mother’s desperate search for her lost son as Wexler films her within the increasingly anarchic crowds of demonstrators & troops actually on the streets at the time, and you’ve got … something very special.

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